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Birth control may affect long-term relationships
April 5th, 2012
07:34 AM ET

Birth control may affect long-term relationships

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

A recent study shows that women with lower testosterone levels - typically caused by the use of hormone-based oral contraceptives like the pill - are more attracted to men who also have low testosterone levels.

Previous studies have shown that the less testosterone a man has, the less likely he is to cheat, the more supportive he is, and the better he is at providing for his family. Sounds good, right?

Not quite. Previous studies have also shown that most women are historically more sexually attracted to higher testosterone levels. And the mothers in the study who eventually went off birth control post-wedding reported less sexual contentment than other women; they found their husbands less attractive and less sexually exciting once they went off the pill.

Dr. Craig Roberts of Stirling University questioned more than 2,500 women from around the world for his research. Did their taste in men shift? Or did their birth control have a “love-potion” type of effect?

When a woman uses hormonal birth control containing estrogen, she decreases her levels of available testosterone. And while women have much less testosterone in their systems than men - women’s bodies contain about 10% the amount of testosterone men do - what they do have helps fuel sexual desire, fantasy and the ability to become naturally lubricated in response to arousal.

So it makes sense that when a woman’s testosterone levels are diminished even further by something like the pill, she might be left feeling blasé about sex: hence her potential attraction to a low-testosterone male.

So it may not be as much the issue of going off birth control as it going on it in the first place. Sexual health expert Dr. Madeleine Castellanos cautions women to think carefully about their choice of contraceptive: "Some of these side effects are so serious that I now urge young women to consider just using condoms and leaving the birth control pills behind."

In addition to libido-shifts, some women who go on hormonal birth control experience pain during intercourse due to irritation of the tissues surrounding the opening of the vagina. In many cases, this is because she is unable to become physically aroused. And those who don’t deal with the issue may actually go on to develop vestibulodynia - a chronic and significant pain surrounding the opening of the vagina and the area of the perineum.

But for those who don’t want to give up the pill, there are women who find that triphasic birth control pills (different amounts of hormones every week) have less of an impact on their sex drive than monophasic pills (same amount of hormones each dose). Of course, hormones affect every woman differently, and there’s no guarantee that a triphasic pill will make much of a difference for you.

So it’s important for a woman to do her due diligence and weigh the pros and cons of various birth control options before settling on one. And know that the changes to a woman’s testosterone level (potentially diminished when she goes on, and then increased when she goes off) could alter her libido and create gaps with that of her partner’s.

Dr. Roberts says women who met their partner while taking hormonal birth control should consider switching to another method several months in advance of tying the knot in order to assess whether their feelings for their partner will change or stay the same.

But before you or your partner do anything of the sort, just make sure you have alternative contraception in place - there’s nothing like a sudden unintended pregnancy to put a damper on one’s sex life.

And for those women who do choose to stay on the pill, the study offers a silver lining: the women on the pill were happier overall in their relationships and more likely to stay together than their non-pill-taking counterparts. The benefits of the non-sexual aspects of the relationship outweighed any sexual downsides.

So perhaps it’s better to be evenly matched at the low-testosterone end of the spectrum (with a man who is more likely to be faithful) than potentially mismatched.


soundoff (216 Responses)
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    January 31, 2013 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
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  3. Major. Barrack Herold

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  4. Anna

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    June 21, 2013 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
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    July 5, 2013 at 06:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. michael

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    July 21, 2013 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Anamarie

    My name is Anamarie and I’m here to let you know that with what people say, it may seem impossible, but with what you believe…..NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE, I made a promise to Priest JAYEMA and to myself that WHEN he restored my marriage, I would testify and tell the world…I would share EVERY single detail no matter how shameful and embarrassing it would be, in the hope and knowledge that I would someday be able to bring some kind of hope for a hurting wife or husband who would’ve been going through what I once was. I’ll try to be as brief as possible but I really don’t want to leave any detail out…no matter how small, because it may be the very thing the priest wants to use to inspire and encourage a stander or prodigal spouse. I don’t want to apportion blame too much here but suffice it to say we had some in-law issues which contributed greatly to our demise…but that is another story and I want to concentrate on how priest JAYEMA showed up and showed off in the mist of my situation. Today. My husband of 1 year and 7 months left me on November 30th, 2012.But. all thanks and all praise be to God who give power to priest JAYEMA, he is now back home and we are rebuilding a marriage that from all counts and to the naked eye in the natural realm was dead. As far as I could see we were the perfect couple went out together.stayed home together,laughed, joked,we were like two peas in a pod of course we had our regular marital problems.no marriage is perfect.in addition to the above we also. argued and sometimes told each other some harsh words.LIKE EVERY OTHER COUPLE,it isn’t right but it happens. In spite of all this , I believed he loved me just as much as I loved him.you could imagine my surprise and heart break when one day after a short disagreement and I mean short.lasting no more that a few minutes.my beloved husband packed his clothes and walked out of my life. All this happened on Nov 30th 2012.I held off from calling him because I was still upset and I figured I didn’t do him any harm.he was the one that stepped out in our marriage and on our marriage.ours wasn’t a physical stepping as in outside sex.it was an on-going 5 month relationship on the internet, with someone he had been previously involved with. The days went by and he didn’t call so on December 5th 2012.I called him.he refused to take my calls so I texted him only to be told that he wasn’t interested in me and I should go on with my life.that I should never call or text him again.that was like a dagger through my heart,I felt as though someone had literally ran a knife straight through my stomach and was twisting it repeatedly.but that isn’t the worse yet. I persisted in calling him that same day and eventually he picked up the phone…he was as cold as ice,I felt frightened even listening to him,he told me.I NEVER LOVED YOU,I AM SORRY WE GOT MARRIED,I FELT TRAPPED IN THIS MARRIAGE,I DON’T LOVE YOU LIKE A MAN SHOULD LOVE A WOMAN,THE FEELINGS I HAVE FOR YOU IS THAT OF A “GOOD” FRIEND,I DON’T WANT TO BE WITH YOU AND YOU SHOULD GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE. I’M NOT COMING BACK. I have never felt pain like I did then in my entire life.it is amazing when you are down on luck how quickly you remember looking for all mean to get back you happiness. I cried DAILY AND HOURLY,I felt all hope was gone,I mean how do you get someone to love you again when that person is saying I never loved you at all,YOU CANT.BUT when i contacted this great man, he told me no problem without solution. i have no choice but to give him a chance and see what happen after then, I had built my life around my husband and now he was gone,I felt like I lost the better part of me.I couldn’t eat,I didn’t want to socialize and I forced myself to go to work,but i strongly believe this man, even though all seemed lost, this man was turning my situation around even as I was hurting for the few days he work on me. I knew I wasn’t strong in my spirit and my faith was way less than even that of a mustard seed. I still cried every day but I also engaged in some radical and spiritual warfare for my husband.I use all the stuff priest JAYEMA send to me for 7days quoting what he wrote on the paper as he instructed me to over my marriage everyday. i was just at the sitting room alone thinking of when all this will be over then someone ring my doorbell, when i open the door, it was a DHL agent with some package. i sign and i took the package inside. when i open the parcel, it was my husband that sent me a gift. and a letter. what he wrote on the paper was I'm really sorry for all that have happen. the next day he was proud to just walk back and admit that he was wrong but he wanted to so much….. He wanted to give our marriage a chance and he loved me and wanted to be with ME.
    I give all the thanks Priest JAYEMA for what he did……it doesn’t matter what your situation looks like.it doesn’t matter how impossible and dead it seems……it doesn’t matter what your husband or wife is planning, just do what you have to do to keep you marriage alive.

    if you have any case, please you are very much free to contact him on his email. jayemamagictemple@gmail.com

    July 26, 2013 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. belinda

    My name is Belinda from Iceland.I want to use this medium to thank this great spell caster Dr. Olufalaye, for what he did in my life.I was having misunderstanding with my husband for over one year and i explained my problems to Dr. Olufalaye, he gave me instructions on what to do and I did them all.Three days later my husband came back home to me.He apologized for his wrong doings and today we are happy now living as one happy family again.All I have to say is thanks to Dr. Olufalaye for making me to have a happy home now and you can reach him via this email address: olufalayespellhome@gmail.com, He is a great spell caster you too can try him out......Belinda

    July 26, 2013 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. staceybruno

    I never believed in love spells or magic until I met this spell caster once when i went to see my friend in Indian this year on a business summit. I meant a man who's name is Dr ATILA he is really powerful and could help cast spells to bring back one's gone, lost, misbehaving lover and magic money spell or spell for a good job or luck spell .I'm now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 5 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he had no good paying job. So when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him. At first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 7 days when i returned to Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married. I didn't believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid, and my husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. His email is atilahealinghome@yahoo.com

    September 4, 2013 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Maryann Smith

    I am so happy to let the whole word know how this powerful spell caster saved my marriage. Everything was going down the drain as my husband can not stop cheating on me with other women. It became used to always heating on me. I tried to make him stop, but I couldn?t help the situation, the more I tried, the harder it becomes. At times we will fight and go apart for some months and we will come back again just because of our kids. One day a friend told me about this spell caster who helped her too, his name is Dr.guruji from india, she said he uses white magic spells to solve spiritual problems. I decided to give it a try, I contacted him and he told me it will take just 2 to 3 days and I will see great changes in my husband. He actually cast a spell, believe me after 2 to 3 days of the spell, my husband was confessing different names of woman he has slept with. He begged for forgiveness and never to try it again. From that day till now, my mind is at rest. My husband dislike every other women on earthspiritualist except me. And am so happy to have him for myself alone. The spell caster?s contact is gurujispellhome@yahoo.com if you have any problem you can contact him for help the man is a grate

    October 13, 2013 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Nelida Mascot

    Making your body ready for conceiving can actually make it happen fast. Schedule a preconception checkup with your gynecologist or midwife. This will not only help you to know whether it is the right time to conceive but your doctor will be able to figure out if there is an underlying problem, which is keeping you away from getting pregnant easily. Your midwife or doctor will guide you to avoid certain things that may hinder with your conception. A complete knowledge about the whole process will enable you to act smartly and get your body ready for it.
    Nelida Mascot http://www.erectiledysfunctiontreatmentoptions.org/

    November 14, 2013 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Kite Monica

    With so much in my heart i am here to express myself on how Zaco sapell help saved my marriage from breaking up. Myself and my husband were having some misunderstanding and it was tearing our marriage apart to the extend my husband was seeking for a divorce. So i have no option than to go to the internet to seek for solution to my problem it was there i came across Zaco spell. how he has helped a lot of people by restoring there relationship. I contact him and in less than 24 hours my husband cancelled the divorce papers. Now myself and my husband live together in peace and harmony all thanks to Dr. Zaco for saving my marriage from breaking Zacospelltemple@yahoo.com

    November 24, 2013 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. CHINNEL

    I AM CHINNEL LOUSI FROM USA, I am out here to spread this good news to the entire world on how I got my ex husband back.I was going crazy when my husband left me and my 3 kids for another woman last YEAR, But when i met a friend that introduced me to DR:OKODUWA the great messenger to the
    oracle of priest solution home,I narrated my problem to he about how my ex Husband left me and my 3 kids and also how i needed to get a job in a very big company.He only said to me that i have come to the right place were i will be getting my heart desire without any side effect.He told me what i need to do,After it was been done,24 hours later,My Ex Husband called me on the phone and was saying sorry for living me and the kids before and one week after my Husband called me to be pleading for forgiveness,I was called for interview in a very big company here in USA were i needed to work as the managing director..I am so happy and overwhelmed that i have to tell this to the entire world to contact Priest DR: on his personal email address and get all your problem solve if have any emotion issue contact he..No problem is too big for him to solve..Contact him direct on: drokoduwalovespelltemple@gmail.com

    March 24, 2014 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
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